Home page
Home Page
About this site
Articles
Alerts
Cases
Cases Pending
Contact
Site Updates
Site Map (test)
Warning
Similar Sites
Information for Victims
Research

News, new & old

News Roundup

Search

Utilities

Restricted Area
 
 
Hosted by:
Web design
Notition
Helping hands for business
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Solicitor David Gatherer

 

 

Update 11 March 2005: David Gatherer struck off. Law Society Gazette.

 

Submitted by: Adrian, 19 Jun 2004

 

Imprisoned lawyer could be struck off

Jun 14 2004

IC Newcastle

Imprisoned lawyer could be struck off

Jun 14 2004

By Lisa Hutchinson, The Evening Chronicle
 

A crooked North East solicitor faces being struck off for conning a vulnerable widow in a house sales scam.

As David Gatherer sits in his prison cell after being jailed for 18 months at Newcastle Crown Court, a Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal will this week decide on his future career.

Gatherer and his office manager, Joyce Watt, appeared before a judge in January and were both found guilty of cheating an elderly woman in a property plot.

The solicitor, 51, of Meadow Lane, East Herrington, Sunderland, got 18 months. Watt, 48, of Langley Park, County Durham, was jailed for a year.

Joan Fort instructed Gatherer to sell a converted former shop she owned in 2002, while she was still grieving over the death of her husband.

Gatherer, sole practitioner at the Durham City firm Carpenters, in Old Elvet, put the house on the market for offers in the region of 15,000. But instead of getting Mrs Fort the best deal, he plotted with Watt to systematically fleece the widow and her family.

The property was sold for 12,000 although a potential buyer was ready to pay 16,500. But Watt was the secret buyer.

She and Gatherer then planned to sell on the house and make a profit.

The lawyer even spirited away files on the deal to cover their tracks. When the original bidders found out about the sale they informed police.

In January a Newcastle Crown Court jury found them guilty of conspiracy to defraud after a month-long trial.

A Law Society spokesman said after the trail: "Gatherer has badly let down his profession. The public is entitled to the highest standards of integrity from a solicitor.

"The Society will ask the Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal to strike Gatherer off at the earliest opportunity."

Gatherer was found not guilty of an unrelated charge of obtaining 2,471 by deception.

The solicitor sold his business building for 400,000. He also owns a number of rental properties in Sunderland.

On Thursday Gatherer's case is due before the Tribunal, in London, when it will be decided if he is struck off.

Jailing Gatherer, Judge Lancaster said the scam had been a mean, cold and calculated breach of trust, motivated only by greed.

He said: "You are a wealthy man. You have no need for the money. I can only conclude the primary motive was greed and a conceited arrogance in the belief you may have got away with it.

"You abused your position as a solicitor. As a solicitor, you knew the utmost integrity in dealing with your clients affairs was required of you. You dishonoured that. You let yourself down, and your profession."


Jun 18 2004

By Neil Mckay, The Journal

IC Newcastle

'I will never forgive him'

Jun 18 2004

By Neil Mckay, The Journal
 

a66490.jpg 

An elderly widow last night told of how she could never forgive the North-East solicitor who cheated her out of thousands of pounds over the home she had shared with her beloved husband.

Joan Fort, 69, said she considered committing suicide after David Gatherer (pictured) - who was yesterday banned from practising as a lawyer - conned her out of over 4,000 while handling the sale of her house.

Heartbroken after the death of her husband Denis in November 2001, Mrs Fort advertised the property in Esh Winning, County Durham - previously a draper's shop where they had worked together for 25 years - for sale.

But Gatherer and his office manager, Joyce Watt, fleeced the `vulnerable' widow, who had never dealt with a solicitor before, to profit from the sale themselves.

Yesterday Gatherer, who is already serving a jail sentence for plotting to defraud his client out of thousands of pounds in the property scam, was struck off by the Law Society.

Last night Mrs Fort, speaking from her council bungalow in Woodland Road, Esh Winning, near Durham, said: "I don't think justice has been done but I am delighted that Gatherer has been struck off.

"He robbed me of my life savings at a time when

I was still trying to get over the death of my husband. I still haven't got over his death.

"There were times when I felt like taking tablets and joining Denis.

"I had never dealt with a solicitor before and when I put my trust in one he betrayed that trust. I cannot forgive him for that.

"Now I only have my pension to survive on whereas he'll be out of jail before long.

"Having said that, I am delighted that The Journal has told me that he has been struck off from practising.

"The man is just greedy. The only time I set eyes on him was in court, my only contact before that was on the telephone, but he tried to deceive me all along.

"He did not tell me a buyer had offered 16,500 for my property. It was only when that buyer came to see me that I realised I was being conned."

Gatherer, 51, of Meadow Lane, East Herrington, Sunderland, was jailed for 18 months and his office manager Joyce Watt, 48, from Langley Park, near Durham City, for 12 months when they appeared at Newcastle Crown Court in January this year.

Both had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud.

Yesterday a Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal sitting in central London ruled Gatherer's name should be removed from the roll of solicitors.

Mrs Fort had instructed Gatherer, the sole practitioner of Carpenters, in Old Elvet, Durham City, to sell the converted former shop in Esh Winning following the death of her husband in 1991.

Offers were made in the region of 15,000 but Gatherer and Watt plotted to fleece the widow.

The house was sold for 12,000 - but Gatherer did not disclose to Mrs Fort that Watt was in fact the secret buyer.

The pair had planned to sell on the house themselves and make a large profit.

Mrs Fort was not informed that another potential buyer had offered to pay 16,500.

Files on the deal were removed and when the original bidders found out they informed the police.

At yesterday's hearing Jon Goodwin, of the Law Society, said: "This is clearly a very serious matter.

"In Mr Gatherer's letter of June 15 he suggests he is not guilty of any criminal act but acknowledges that he has been found guilty by a jury."

Wealthy Gatherer, who sold his business building for 400,000 and owns a number of rental properties in Sunderland, was told when sentenced by Judge Tony Lancaster that he was guilty of a "cold and calculated" crime in which he and Watt sought to deprive a vulnerable woman of her only wealth, and the motive behind it must have been greed.

And his disgrace was compounded yesterday when tribunal chairman Anthony Isaacs said: "The order that the tribunal makes is that Mr Gatherer should be struck off the roll and that he pay costs to be the subject of a detailed assessment."

Gatherer did not attend yesterday's hearing.


Greedy solicitor banned from job

Jun 18 2004

By The Evening Chronicle

IC Newcastle

An elderly widow fleeced for thousands of pounds by a crooked solicitor says she is delighted he has been struck off as well as jailed.

David Gatherer, sole practitioner of Carpenters, in Old Elvet, County Durham, conned 69-year-old Joan Fort out of 4,000 while handling the sale of her house.

Gatherer, 51, of Meadow Lane, East Herrington, Sunderland, was jailed for 18 months by Newcastle Crown Court in January after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud.

And yesterday a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in London ordered Gatherer to be banned from practising.

A heartbroken Mrs Fort said: "He robbed me of my life savings at a time when I was still trying to get over the death of my husband.

"The man is greedy. I had never dealt with a solicitor before and when I put my trust in one, he betrayed me that trust. I cannot forgive him for that. I am delighted he has been struck off from practising."
 

 

 

 

 

Back to top of page